Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 245 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
THOMAS J. DEVINE,
The lamented Judge Devine was born of Irish
parentage, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the 28th of
February, 1820. His early opportunities for an
education were liberal and in addition to his English
studies he acquired considerable proficiency
in the Latin and French languages, but he was in
early life thrown upon his own resources, and when
but fifteen years of age emigrated to Florida and
was there employed as clerk and salesman in a
mercantile house at Tallahasse, but his aspiring
genius found little congeniality in the mental restraints
and fettering routine of a life of trade.
The cravings of his mind and the soaring flights of
his youthful ambition impelled him to exertions to
reach a more compatible sphere, and, in 1838, he
began the study of law in the office of Trexton
Davis, a prominent lawyer of Woodville, Miss.
In 1840 he went to Lexington, Ky., where he
continued his studies and attended lectures in
the law department of Transylvania University,
from which he graduated in 1843 and in the same
year obtained his license to practice from the
Supreme Court of Kentucky.
During that year he emigrated to Texas and
located at La Grange, in Fayette County, and he
soon thereafter removed to San Antonio, where he
established himself in the practice of his profession
and lived until his death in 1890.
Judge Devine acquired a high reputation as an
able and thorough lawyer. In 1844 he was elected
City Attorney of San Antonio and held the office
by successive re-elections until 1851, when he was
elected District Judge of Bexar County. He was
re-elected to the bench in 1856 and held the position
until the outbreak of the war between the
States. He was a leading member of the Texas
secession convention in 1861, and was a member of
the committee of public safety, appointed to confer
with Gen. Twiggs, the commander of the
United States troops in Texas, and demand the
surrender of all the government arms, ammunition
and military stores and the immediate removal
of the Federal troops from the State.
This, in conjunction with two other gentlemen
of the committee, he accomplished with the
skill of a thorough diplomatist and received the
commendation and thanks of the convention.
Being an ardent devotee and supporter of the
Southern cause and a lawyer of eminent ability, he
was soon afterwards appointed Confederate States
Judge for the Western District of Texas. The
functions of this office, though necessarily limited
in extent and application during the time of war, he
performed with the utmost fidelity, and with a view
to the importance of putting the machinery of the
new court in proper motion. In 1863 his admirable
qualities of statesmanship and knowledge of international
law were again called into requisition. At
the request of Gen. E. Kirby Smith, he proceeded
to the city of Mexico and succeeded in arranging
amicably the threatened troubles between the
Mexican and the Confederate States governments.
In 1864 there was great dissatisfaction in Texas
in consequence of the conscript law and the embargo
laid by the Confederate government upon
trade between Texas and Mexico, and serious
troubles were threatening to arise between the government
of the State and the Confederacy., but the
patriotism, ability and the pacific qualities of Judge
Devine arrested all evil, and, having promptly
repaired to Gen. Smith's headquarters in Arkansas,
he arranged the whole matter satisfactorily to all
Thus, as a judge and peacemaker, this good man
united in his person and in his official character the
noblest qualities of a citizen and patriot and rendered
his country the most valuable and the happiest
of all services, the promotion of unity and concord
and the direction of its energies against the cormon
enemy. At the termination of the war he saw no
hope for his country through the clouds that settled
over it and he took up his abode in Mexico, but
Texas was his home. To her he owed all that he
was, or had been, and his heart was chained to her
destiny. He returned to San Antonio within a few
months, but his known ability, prominence and influence
as a Southerner, drew about him the shafts
of revenge and he was arrested by the Federal
authorities and incarcerated at Fort Jackson at the
mouth of the Mississippi and there confined during
a period of about four months, after which he
returned to San Antonio, quietly resumed the practice
of his profession, placidly awaited the abatement
of the storm and watched with anxious gaze
the restoration of the social and political wreck
which the war left in its pathway.
In 1873 Judge Devine was appointed by Governor
Coke an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court o
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/245/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .